Chief Edwin Clark, convener of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), on Thursday in Abuja expressed his support for the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) as they consider shutting down Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria Limited’s operations in the Niger Delta due to the proposed sale of onshore assets.
Shell had said it agreed to sell its onshore oil and gas business in Nigeria to a group dominated by local companies for $1.3 billion.
The transaction is an effort by Europe’s largest energy company to reduce its risks in the country that is Africa’s largest oil producer. Nigeria has long been a cornerstone for Shell, but also the source of a damaging legal and environmental legacy.
The umbrella body of Ijaw youths worldwide, the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), warned of renewed hostilities in Niger Delta if the purported sales of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) onshore assets fails to follow requisite laws in line with the Local Content Act.
The youth group warned that the consortiums, which planned to buy the assets, should steer clear from the erroneous process modified by Shell to further embolden the mystery of respective host communities, which Shell is famous for in its 70 years operation.
In a statement by its spokesman, Binebai Princewill during a consultation visit, to Chief EK Clark in Abuja on Thursday to register their grievances against the proposed move by Shell, noted that Shell cannot go free after the destruction of their environment and abuse of stakeholders for over 70 years of Shell’s oil and gas exploration in the region.
It warned Renaissance Africa Energy and other consortiums that have perfected plans to buy Shell onshore assets in the Niger Delta without recourse to stakeholders from the region to steer clear.
IYC asserterd that their people must be carried along, this time around we are beginning to see government introducing what we call neo colonization, and our we can’t accept this kind of injustice.
He said; “The purpose of our visit is to come and brief our leader and father on the Niger Delta struggle and emancipation, Chief Dr. Edwin Clark, we came to brief him on certain critical positions and decisions taken by the Ijaw Youth worldwide.
“We recently read from the pages of newspapers and even on the internet that Shell is now divesting from the Niger Delta region by way of selling off their onshore assets and these assets are located in our Ijaw communities and in the Niger Delta region.
“We have taken a decision that we are not going to accept such divestment without the proper cleaning up of our environment, and that Shell should clean up our environment first and therefore, we should be given the opportunity to also bid for the process.
“We have capable people that can also buy up this assets, in line with the Nigerian content laws, our people must be carried along, this time around we are beginning to see government introducing what we call neo colonization, and our we can’t accept this kind of injustice.
“So therefore, it is not going to end as a press statement, we are ready to follow this matter up, our own is to come and brief our leader here, after now other critical stakeholders will be briefed as well until our people are carried along in the process, we can not continue accept whatever the Federal Government and Shell will be doing.
“If they are not cooperating, we just hope that it will not get to that level, if they feel that press statements and briefing will be treated with lackadaisical attitude, we will have no option but to go the other way, it means there is going to be grave consequences to the Nigerian economy.” He stated.
Clark Endorses IYC’s Initiative
However, EK Clark in his response pledged his support to the ijaw youths’ plans against the development.
The Elder statesman and former Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark, said the big people from other parts of the country who feel Nigeria belong to them wants to colonise Ijaw nation, Niger Delta and feed fat on their vast oil reserves.
Clark decried the situation whereby the almighty God gave the people of Niger Delta oil resources to compensate them but since the white man left big men in the country want to colonize them, it’s unfair, oppressive, unjust and unacceptable.
He said; “People came to me to report, I agreed with them that we will follow the case in a legal way, I have a list that people send to me containing 147 cases taken Shell and more of them are coming, enough is enough. We can no longer tolerate, if you go Gbagada today Chevron have an estate there, they are workers who work in Niger Delta do not pay their tax to Niger Delta, because they live in Lagos.
“Could you imagine a situation whereby NNPC which was established in 1977 to look after the oil industry, one would have expected that the capital could be in the Niger Delta, hopefully in Port Harcourt, no those who feel that they own this country put it wherever they want.
“Out of eleven members appointed by Mr. President, the chairman is from Akoko in Ondo state, five of the eleven members are from the north, the only two executive directors are also from the north, South East have one, the President of the Senate gave one to a lady who was commissioner in his government in those days, people who are well qualified from Ogoni, who could be there.
“Delta at the moment is the leading oil-producing state, not a single person from Delta, Bayelsa State, another major oil-producing state, not a single person, people who have nothing to do with the oil industry are the ones supervising, maintaining and treating us as strangers in our own home.
This can not continue, the situation whereby the almighty God gave the people of Niger Delta since you are living in a very difficult terrain, we give you this oil to compensate you, but the big men in Nigeria who believe Nigeria belong to them, when the white man left they want to colonize us, it’s unfair, oppressive, unjust and unacceptable.” He stated.